The Global Commission on Drug Policy released its comprehensive report on the global drug war, and its effects on people and nations. This group is comprised of former heads of state and several current and former world leaders such as George Schultz, Paul Volker, Kofi Annan, former Presidents of Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, and Switzerland, and many other former and present top government officials and business leaders. This report plainly states, “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.”
The report recommends experimentation with drug legalization programs designed to undermine the power of organized crime, and to end, “the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.” The executive summary at the beginning of the report linked above quickly provides the headline information you need for a basic understanding of the commission’s findings. Additionally, click NPR and CNN International for their articles on this report.
This report shows agreement with many points I’ve made for years. For example, over the past 4 years, more than 40,000 people were murdered in drug cartel related violence in Mexico alone. Thousands of lives are taken each year in drug related violence in the U.S. as well. Many people losing their lives aren’t even related to drug trade. Of the illegal drugs with overdose potential, more users suffer or die from complications from impurities than from the actual drug. Also, problems occur when someone receives a purer drug than expected so they administer a larger dose than they wanted or more than they might survive. Basically, the vast majority of people suffering drug related deaths die because of organized crime and drug enforcement violence, not from drug use.
The drug war also affects everyday lives of many other innocent people. Children suffer when their parent(s) are arrested for possession, low end distribution, or growing personal amounts of cannabis. Not only do these children lose their parents for some period of time, when parents are released from prison, they have a brutal time finding employment. They can’t afford enough food, maybe lose their homes or ability to pay for an apartment, and these stresses wreak havoc on the children at school and throughout their lives. Their parent’s choices are not their problems.
Drug use and distribution is a choice. Arguably, some drug use helps people be successful in their lives just like taking medications they could be prescribed, or the couple beers that help them relax after a ragged day. Many people believe if they don’t participate in what they truly believe in, then laws never change, and pain and suffering continue in this way forever. So, despite the dangers, they use or trade in drugs. For others, it’s purely financial, and they’ll do whatever they can to protect the financial gains they reap from the drug trade. These people even vote against legalization.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “If people let government decide what foods to eat and what medicines to take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Many conservatives tell us they strive to lead the government according to our constitution and in the way our founding fathers intended, yet, they don’t actually read what these founding fathers wrote. Conservatives say they’re for small government to keep government out of our lives, yet they only mean that for themselves and their ilke. However, many of them are caught doing exactly what they say not to do. Basically, people like them, enjoy putting people down to make themselves look good, but most of them are no better than the people they continue to throw in jail.
It’s time to let people’s actions in our communities show who they are, and not judge them for what they do at home.